Friday, December 14, 2007

Is that Alan Keyes? Oh Dear...

Earlier this week, the American public (well, those who were watching Iowa public television in the middle of the afternoon) were all subject to what Charles Krauthammer dubbed, "the worst debate in western history, and that includes the ancient Greeks." The aftermath of the Des Moines Register-sponsored Republican presidential debate consisted mostly of head-scratching and shell-shocked pundits asking each other “what the hell just happened?”

It certainly wasn’t because of the political fireworks generated, or any raised level of discourse. It was more because of the awkwardness of it all….and because of the strange rea
ppearance of Alan Keyes, someone we all thought (and desperately hoped) was out of our lives forever.

To me, the low and high point of the debate occured when the moderator
asked for a show of hands from those who believe global climate change is a serious threat. Fred Thompson-led pandemonium quickly broke out as each candidate sheepishly tried to distance themselves from such an absurd contention. Well, all of the candidates except one. And it just happened to be the one candidate who couldn’t raise either of his hands because five years of torture in a Hanoi prison camp prevent him from even being able to comb his own hair. The statement that followed from John McCain was as articulate as it was principled, especially given the mood in that room. It was just another one of those McCain moments when so clearly transcends everything around him and wins us over.

Otherwise, yes, the
moderator did look like a strange morphing of Senator Amy Klobuchar and that mean lady from the Weakest Link. And yes, the only thing reassuring about the reappearance of Keyes was that he's still as crazy as we remember. This time around, he may have failed to announce an endorsement from Jesus Christ or that all homosexuals were selfish hedonists, but he did give us a couple more special moments.

Chris Cillizza provides a good breakdown of the debate winners and losers.

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